There is no hiding the consumer's loss of confidence in many of the most visible brands of our time.
Wells Fargo's cut-throat sales culture from 2010 to 2016 sent their customers confidence in them into a tailspin and resulted in the payment of over $1 billion in fines. This critical time also saw the firing of CEO John Stumpf.
Facebook has had a hellish two years from the troubling behavior of senior executives to scandals in election data and its latest privacy debacle. The magnitude of the situation became apparent when Mark Zuckerberg appeared in front of Congress to be grilled about privacy for 2 days.
The common thread linking the behaviors of these big companies is a culture that produces less than ideal behaviors from its employees. Ultimately, this generates negative results even if they don't show up on the immediate bottom line. The second commonality is a similar strategy when it comes to rebuilding their brand and public confidence.
During game one of the NBA's Western Conference playoff series between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, we saw a desperate attempt made by all three companies. Each paid big time money to run commercials highlighting their mistakes backed by a promise to deliver better service moving forward.
It is evident that these organizations are under the impression that the trust of consumers is bought. While exact cost is not known, it is safe to say the production and airtime of these ads was an investment of millions and millions of dollars. The executives in question would do well to follow one simple rule:
Trust is earned, it can't be purchased
The vast majority of consumers are quick to forget the shortcomings and poor decisions of employees in powerful positions but do not be a fool. Maintaining the integrity of your business and yourself is paramount. Cheating is cheating, treating people poorly is detrimental, and hiding the truth is always accompanied by consequences.
Instead of spending money to buy back lost trust, let your actions do the talking. Commit to the long and hard process of changing your company culture. Promote people who are committed to serving and empowering others. Make decisions that are in the best interest of your clients instead of the only looking at the bottom line.
Then and only then will people feel good about getting into an Uber, banking with Wells Fargo, or logging into Facebook.